Water Use Discussion Questions

Water Use
Instructions: You should be able to answer these questions once you have finished the
1. Define the boldfaced terms in this chapter.
2. Explain why there is a danger of water wars or economic competition between countries for
food imports in the Middle East.
3. List eight unique properties of water and explain the importance of each property.
4. What percentage of the earth’s total volume of water is easily available for use by people?
5. Distinguish among surface runoff, reliable runoff, watershed, groundwater, zone of aeration,
zone of saturation, water table, aquifer, and natural recharge. Explain how the water in some
aquifers can be depleted.
6. Distinguish between water withdrawal and consumptive water use.
7. Since 1900, how much has the total use and per capita use of water by humans increased?
About what percentage of the world’s reliable surface runoff is used by humanity and what
percentage are we projected to be withdrawing by 2025?
8. About what percentage of the water we withdraw each year is used for (a) irrigation, (b)
industry, and (c) residences and cities?
9. What are the major water uses and problems of (a) the eastern United States and (b) the
western United States?
10. List four causes of water scarcity. Distinguish between water stress and water scarcity.
About how many people live in countries that are water-water stressed or water scarce? How
many people are likely to be living in such countries by 2025?
11. List six ways to increase the supply of fresh water in a particular area.
12. Discuss the controversy over whether freshwater resources should be owned and managed
by governments or by private corporations.
13. List the major advantages and disadvantages of building large dams and reservoirs to
supply fresh water.
14. List the major advantages and disadvantages of (a) building numerous dams along the
Colorado River basin and (b) China’s Three Gorges dam.
15. Describe the effects of the Aral Sea water transfer project in central Asia.
16. Describe the controversy over (a) the California Water Transfer Project and (b) the James
Bay water transfer project in Canada.
17. List the advantages and disadvantages of supplying more water by withdrawing
groundwater. Explain why excessive groundwater withdrawal can be viewed as an example of
the tragedy of the commons. What is saltwater intrusion, and what harm does it cause?
18. Summarize the advantages and disadvantages of withdrawing groundwater from the
Ogallala Aquifer in the United States.
19. List nine ways to prevent or slow groundwater depletion.
20. What are two concerns about withdrawing water from huge, very deep aquifers?
21. List the advantages and disadvantages of increasing supplies of fresh water by desalination
of salt water. How useful are seeding clouds and towing icebergs in increasing to increase water
supplies in water-short areas?
22. About what percentage of the water used by people throughout the world is wasted? To
what percentage could we reduce such waste? List two major causes of water waste
23. Describe three major irrigation systems and list them in order of their efficiency of water
24. List nine ways to reduce water waste in irrigation and eleven ways to reduce water waste in
industry, homes, and businesses.
25. List five principles for reducing the use of water to remove industrial and household wastes.
26. List the major benefits and disadvantages of floods. List four ways in which humans
increase the damages from floods. Describe the nature and causes of the flooding problems in
27. List five ways to reduce the risks of flooding.
28. List 12 ways to use the world’s water more sustainably.
29. List 11 ways you can reduce your use and waste of water.